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How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Olena PavlovaNews
Shakhtar surprised Barcelona with their performance

In the fourth round of the Champions League, Shakhtar created one of the loudest sensations of the group stage by beating Barcelona 1:0. And while the Donetsk team played two different halves and fought for a draw after the break in the match of the 3rd round against the Catalans, two weeks later, the Miners not only defeated the Spanish giant but also did it very skillfully, leaving their goal "dry", which neither Antwerp nor Porto managed to do.

OBOZ.UA decided to find out what happened to Shakhtar over the past couple of weeks.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Pušić effect. Of course, the main "culprit" behind the current sensation and the reboot of the Donetsk team is Shakhtar's Bosnian coach Marino Pušić. It's clear that the Balkan specialist has been working with the Miners for only a few weeks and it's a bit premature to draw unequivocal conclusions, but it's already clear that the club's management has made the right call with the replacement for Patrick van Leeuwen.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Pušić hasn't learned Ukrainian yet, but he still speaks the same language with his teammates. He quickly figured out what to do and managed to convey his own vision of the game to the team. And this energy of the coach seems to be transmitted to the others. It seems that Shakhtar's players were as if let out of the air under the Dutchman van Leeuwen, while Pušić came in and pumped everyone up.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

"I am not a person who thinks about problems. I think about solutions and opportunities," the Bosnian recently admitted, and he has indeed solved many of the Shakhtar's problems in a short time.

In the match against Barcelona in Hamburg, the coach's warm communication with the players on the field was striking. For example, in stoppage time, when the Spaniards launched a final assault, Pušić pretended to strain the muscles in his arm and thus showed one of his players that he was very strong.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

By the way, Pušić also promised to learn Ukrainian soon: "I already understand it by about 30%. I can read it. Give me six months and I will be able to speak Ukrainian."

Concrete defense. Shakhtar's Bosnian coach has certainly figured out Barcelona, and the Donetsk team compensated for some loss in individual skill with well-coordinated teamwork and tremendous dedication. But it's one thing to develop a plan and quite another to implement it. Unlike the match two weeks ago, the Shakhtar were very reliable and coordinated in defense. Everyone knew what they were responsible for and worked as a team.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

The Ukrainians tried not to give Barcelona any space to develop their attacks. Yes, in the second half, there was pressure on the approaches to the Riznyk penalty area, the last 20-25 minutes were very nervous, but there was no such thing as the Shakhtar goalkeeper jumping from corner to corner and pulling balls flying into the goal area. The Miners either managed to make an interception or blocked the shot.

Rakytskyi's winning riding duels are worth mentioning separately. Along with Sikan, he received the highest score for the match in his team from Whoscored, 7.5.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

As Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen admitted after the match, his team had a lot of possession but couldn't do anything with the ball. The Shakhtar selflessly went into the box and cut off the opponent's oxygen. One of the best strikers of our time, Robert Lewandowski, was practically "eaten up" by the Ukrainian defense.

It is worth mentioning the physical readiness of the guys. You need to have excellent "physics" to defend so tightly for a long time and still have strength to perform counterattacks. Two weeks ago, the fatigue of Matvienko and Zubkov at the end of the match was visible to the naked eye. It was also hard in Hamburg but no one dropped out until the last second.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named
How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Bold attack. Shakhtar's quick counterattacks on November 7 were a revelation for the Spanish giants. The hosts quickly moved to the other half of the field, demonstrating their chemistry with precise passes. They acted boldly and uninhibitedly, causing applause in the stands. That is what van Leeuwen's team lacked so much. As a result, Shakhtar scored 4 shots against the Catalans, and the Spaniards scored 1.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named
How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

I would like to believe that Sikan's collarbone injury is not too serious because Danylo looked much more interesting and sharp up front than with Venezuelan Kevin Kelsy, who replaced him. However, the Ukrainian forward did not spare a pass for his colleague in one of the episodes. The score could have been 2-0 before his substitution in the 62nd minute.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Ukrainian character. What Shakhtar's players cannot be denied is their character, their tremendous dedication, which resulted in a large number of injuries in Hamburg. As one of the foreign fans wrote, "And this is how a team that represents a country that has been at full-scale war for over 18 months plays." Last season, Donetsk shocked Real Madrid, and this time it was Barcelona.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

And this character has been especially evident in the last two seasons when most of the legionnaires left Shakhtar, and the team's backbone was made up of not just players but local students. Mykhailo Mudryk was sold to Chelsea, and the team was led by Sudakov, Bondarenko and Sikan. Yesterday, the Pitmen started with 9 Ukrainians.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Someone might say that Barcelona is not in the best of conditions right now. However, before the 4th round of the Champions League, they had lost only once to Real Madrid in the El Clasico on October 28, conceding the decisive goal in stoppage time (1-2).

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

So maybe we're not seeing the worst version of the Catalans but rather one of the best versions of Shakhtar as far as it is possible in the current circumstances? However, whether this is true or not will become clear no earlier than the final group stage match with Porto, which will most likely determine who will advance to the Champions League playoffs.

How Shakhtar shocked Barcelona: reasons for miraculous reset after dull season start are named

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that Shakhtar's victory over Barcelona caused a shock in Russia.

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